The Messenger

By Socratus

Illustrating Wicked Problems

Illustrating Wicked Problems

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The Messenger - Issue #28: The Appetite for War

and then the main course:


The Messenger - Issue #27: Cooking with Code

Two links this week - one on food systems and climate change and the other on the security angle to climate change.


The Messenger - Issue #26: Forest Fires and Climate Change

This week we have a two part extended review of "Climate Leviathan," which is a book about how new political systems might emerge in order to address climate change.


The Messenger - Issue #25 From data to stories

The data for the illustrations above all come from this article about putting pollution on our agenda by Dr. Amar Patnaik.


The Messenger - Issue #24: Bottom Up Governance

A touching article about a woman who let a fledgeling nest in her hair for months.


The Messenger - Issue #23 “Modelling the Mente”

Till next time!


The Messenger - Issue #22: Wicked Code Preview

First, an article about imagining alternate climate futures by borrowing ideas from the Cold War:


The Messenger - Special Issue: Wicked Code

Climate change can’t be understood as a standalone ‘scientific’ phenomenon that can be solved with renewable energy technologies. It’s a wicked problem that combines moral and material complexity. At the same time, we can’t address India’s climate challenges …


The Messenger - Issue #21

Fly back to 1959. Three years ago, the concept ‘Artificial Intelligence’ was used for the first time in a college on the east coast of the United States. Everyone was abuzz – can computers think like human beings? Some thought so. In 1959 two of the high prie…


The Messenger - Issue #35

It's been a difficult two years, but this week is particularly wicked. This interview with Anatol Lieven is a good primer on the Russia-Ukraine war.


The Messenger - Issue #34: A Citizen's University

The first book ever printed, i.e., not written or carved by hand, but set in movable type, was done so in China. We don't know when the very first one was printed but they were being commissioned by 868 CE, when this Diamond Sutra (an Indian Buddhist text tha…


The Messenger - Issue #18: Who are we

The illustrations were based on this excerpt from the book that was published in Scroll


The Messenger - Issue #32

Climate grammar sometimes needs subtle reasoning: should you buy local or buy food whose inputs need less carbon? Ideally both, but not all of us have the capacity to make such choices. Here's a data driven way to answer that question:


The Messenger - Issue #31: Recasting the Fertilizer Subsidy

India spends more than Rs. 1 lakh Crores on the fertilizer subsidy, the second highest subsidy after food. There's broad agreement among all stakeholders, even among those with competing interests, that a change in the fertilizer subsidy policy is inevitable.…


The Messenger - Issue #15: The High-Tech North East

A long essay on how systems change is relational


The Messenger - Issue #14: Mindcraft or how to become a wicked mind

What's your vision of the future? How do you think we will get there?


The Messenger - Issue #13: On Conflict and Dialogue

Here's a question for you: What was your last conflict and how could you have handled it differently?


The Messenger - Issue #12: On Citizenship

We are approaching the end of the year. The Messenger will take a couple of weeks off and we'll be back in early January.


The Messenger - Issue #11: On Wicked Problems, Wicked Minds and Collective Wisdom

Most of us are unaware that China has many many mutually unintelligible languages even though they use the same script. This is an interesting article about how an official Chinese language, "Mandarin," was invented for the purposes of creating a modern natio…


The Messenger - Issue #10

Both of this week's ancillary essays are from Foreign Policy journals. First, a lovely essay by Justin E.H. Smith on ongoing efforts to turn aspects of nature - rivers, elephants etc - into a person for legal purposes. Then an essay on the geopolitics of ener…